The Insurance Council of New Zealand welcomed today’s Report of the Independent Ministerial Advisor to the Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission which makes several useful recommendations that may accelerate the settlement of claims for Cantabrians. Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton said “The settlement of unresolved EQC claims now and in the future is a priority for homeowners and private insurers. We welcome the comparisons made with the way the Kaikōura earthquake claims were managed which points to a model for the future. The Kaikōura model saw private insurers managing the end to end claims process which provided certainty for homeowners and private insurers about the most damaged over cap properties so they were settled more efficiently.”  “We strongly support recommendations for EQC to review and confirm claims data and to make this data more transparent as this has been a source of concern for a long time” he said.  Grafton said he is “pleased to see the report support continuing the work on trying to establish a single claims handling entity for residual claims. This is an initiative ICNZ raised with EQC last August to avoid multiple handling of claims and establish one point of accountability and responsibility for customers. Work on this will need to continue with Treasury and MBIE to address how all risks associated with such an undertaking can be appropriately managed”. The report recommends EQC works with private insurers to extend the existing Protocol 1 to allow EQC to make cash settlements above the EQC cap, which would then be recovered from the private insurers. Grafton said “there are some significant challenges to extending Protocol 1 to cash settlements not the least being that serious questions exist about the reliability of EQC’s data and the fact that EQC does not apply full and final settlements”.  Private insurers support EQC’s recent decisions to establish a case management system and Canterbury-specific call centre and the report’s call for additional resourcing by EQC of its claims teams.  “As the report notes, several private insurers have offered to have EQC staff located in their offices to iron out issues quickly” said Grafton.  Private insurers have received 945 over cap claims from EQC in the last 12 months and 1,864 in the last 2 years.

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